Mariners Foibles

Dave · June 12, 2008 at 5:03 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I wrote a guest post for The Baseball Analysts dealing with the roots of the failures of the 2008 team. Re-reading it, I think I might be a little bit frustrated with this organization.

Comments

61 Responses to “Mariners Foibles”

  1. patl on June 12th, 2008 6:24 am

    Excellent post, Dave. One other theme we’ve seen in the front office’s choices for players is a strong preference for local guys – which played heavily into the Sexson deal as well as several others.

  2. TheEmrys on June 12th, 2008 6:46 am

    I love Baseball Analysts. Great write-up. I’m suprised you didn’t mention Cairo.

  3. CCW on June 12th, 2008 7:43 am

    I know of some folks who are putting together Articles of Impeachment for Bavasi. The Articles will include, among other things, a list of Bavasi’s busted transactions. Also will include a $/win comparison to the rest of MLB. Dave, do you mind if they use this as a starting point? Also, if anyone has anything to add, or wants to join in the cause, please send an email to impeachbavasi@gmail.com. Thx.

  4. bakomariner on June 12th, 2008 7:50 am

    Nice write up Dave, as usual…

  5. smb on June 12th, 2008 8:11 am

    I’ll third that, great write-up, as usual. Nice to feel like I’m not the only one who shat bricks at every one of those moves.

  6. don52656 on June 12th, 2008 8:18 am

    Good article. Harsh, but fair and accurate. And you didn’t even mention Cairo or Bloomquist.

  7. Kunkoh on June 12th, 2008 8:22 am

    I’m not sure it’s possible to be a fan of the Mariners and not be frustrated; unless you are a completely delusional home-er.

    The traditionalist “faith” fans, that hate stats that weren’t in use 20yrs ago; believe that chemistry, grit, and intangibles are more important than OBP, OPS, (etc); that terms like “ACE” have some real meaning or value; that have “faith” that the FO knows what they are doing because they are “baseball men”, and that fans can’t possibly understand the intricacies of the sport; and believe W/L to be the real determining factor of a team’s talent are beginning to admit that Bavasi screwed the pooch.

    They might not get the why, but they get that something is wrong.

  8. Jeff Nye on June 12th, 2008 8:27 am

    Man, it’s embarrassing to see it all laid out like that.

  9. Rusty on June 12th, 2008 8:29 am

    Does Mariner management ever write you guys and ask you to ease off a little on your criticisms. Mind you, I think every one of your criticisms are valid but I can’t help think it really sticks in their craw.

  10. cody on June 12th, 2008 8:37 am

    Look on the bright side guys! If we only lose four games the rest of the year, we can still win 116 games again this year! And then we can go on to flame out in the playoffs!

  11. charliesmith87 on June 12th, 2008 8:46 am

    [comments were closed on those posts for a reason]

  12. bakomariner on June 12th, 2008 9:03 am

    Well, for all the dumb-ass moves they’ve made, they are at least making one that sounds sane…Dickey is scheduled to replace Batista in the starting rotation tomorrow…Batista to closer with JJ out?

  13. Mike Honcho on June 12th, 2008 9:05 am

    I don’t think many people realize how bad the Soriano/Ramirez trade was on so many levels. Its domino effect has been incredible.

  14. bakomariner on June 12th, 2008 9:08 am

    13- It was crippling, but I still believe the Bedard trade is the worst trade this organization has ever made and will be tough to top in the future…

  15. Jeff Nye on June 12th, 2008 9:14 am

    I don’t think that the Bedard trade is even close to the Soriano for HoRam trade, much less worse.

    We gave up too much for Bedard, but got back real talent in return; we gave Soriano, who at worst was going to be a stud reliever, away for a less than replacement level pitcher.

  16. Mike Honcho on June 12th, 2008 9:14 am

    bako – You are probably right, but we knew going in that the Bedard trade would be one helluva risk. The Ramirez trade sucked, but it’s hard to believe it could have done so much damage.

  17. Rusty on June 12th, 2008 9:17 am

    I know this sounds crazy but the first two steps that need to be made is to reduce player payroll drastically and then hire a GM who is tasked to build a better team on less money. There is so much slop in the budget that it’s leading to bad player acquisition decisions.

  18. bakomariner on June 12th, 2008 9:20 am

    Jeff- The Bedard deal will be the worst ever, no doubt about it, when he leaves via free agency or when we trade him for far less than we gave up…

    I blame it on Kuroda…if he signs with us, we probably don’t need to make that trade, and we probably wouldn’t have signed Silva either…I know Kuroda isn’t having the best year, but I’d rather have him out there with George, AJ, and the other guys in the minors…and Tillman is tearing it up right now…

    The Bedard deal is the worst…

  19. Steve T on June 12th, 2008 9:23 am

    I like the slow-burn quality, where you start off sounding like a business report and end up ranting about the “power of an eight-year-old girl”. This closely follows my own path of frustration.

    The amazing thing is how much you left out. Cairo and Bedard for Sherrill and Jones, for instance. Going through this, each name you brought up, I was thinking “yeah, that’s the one that really burns me up”, only to rethink after the next name. I think Carlos Guillen is still the one that rankles the most, though the Bedard one is the one that made me start to actively hate everything about this team.

  20. Ruminations on June 12th, 2008 9:27 am

    Dave, thank you for the very well-written and concise retrospective. The link will be going to all my correspondents. The only thing I can think to add is that the current management has what I can only describe as a philosophical aversion to selecting hitters with selective pitch judgement and to assembling a bench that can be useful when first line players falter. These are all failures of the front office.

  21. NickBob on June 12th, 2008 9:37 am

    Scott Spezio? Was he just a dream?

  22. Rusty on June 12th, 2008 9:39 am

    Carlos Guillen rankles mostly in hindsight. At the time, many were frustrated with him. Injuries, tuberculosis, inconsistent performance. I think we were all pissed that Santiago was the best we could get for him. They should have kept him rather than trade him for that. And perhaps then his breakout years would have happened for the Mariners.

  23. joser on June 12th, 2008 9:42 am

    Great summary, Dave. As painful as it is to contemplate, it’s incredibly useful to have Bavasi’s “Greatest” Hits compiled in one place for reference (and for rebuttal to the occasional clueless fool who continues to insist that it’s not systemic organizational problem but merely a matter of “motivation” or “chemistry” or guys not “playing up to their abilities”).

    You also did a nice job of highlighting the underlying cognitive pathologies that cause the M’s to make the same mistakes again and again. However there’s one you mentioned only tangentially that deserved a little more discussion: the team’s obsession with roles. This probably is illustrated best by the endless designated hitter debacle (why must there be a designated designated hitter?) but it runs like toxic waste through the whole Soriano-Morrow-Fields travesty and peeks out in other decisions as well.

  24. Steve T on June 12th, 2008 9:50 am

    The thing about Guillen is, we didn’t know he was going to break out like that, but we didn’t have to. .750 shortstops who play good defense are valuable commodities, and we treated him like he was garbage. Compare Guillen to Bloomquist — we CONSCIOUSLY CHOSE BLOOMQUIST.

    And since then we’ve basically never had a shortstop.

    I’m sorry, but anyone who would consciously choose Bloomquist over Guillen on any basis at all is, to put it charitably, the scum of the earth. Wait, that’s not charitable, is it?

    Cameron, too: they treated him as if he was DIRT. Aside from the fact that he’s not dirt, this is a huge stupidity on purely baseball terms.

    As Dave points out, it’s not that they have repeatedly made mistakes; everybody makes mistakes. It’s that they have repeatedly DELIBERATELY CHOSEN to make the team worse. “He’s a worse player, but….” I don’t care about “but”. I want the better player. The M’s KNEW WHAT THEY WERE GETTING and got it anyways. Oh, my blood is starting to boil all over again…..

    Seriously, if you were to groom a sabotage artist and send him into a team as a mole, you could not destroy a franchise more effectively than our front office has done. If a sabotage effort had destroyed the scouting operation as well, it would have been too obvious.

    “Now batting, number thirteen, first baseman Carlos Guillen”. Tell me that’s not sabotage.

  25. gwangung on June 12th, 2008 9:55 am

    And the worst thing about this…..the front office and baseball people think all their decisions were correct.

  26. Joe on June 12th, 2008 9:59 am

    Guillen’s tuberculosis, rather than leaving me frustrated, actually had me predicting at the time he would do better in coming seasons. Not to quite the degree of improvement he actually attained — and who knows if the move had anything to do with that — but I was expecting him to put up better numbers. This was based on my observations of other people who had been cured of latent TB infections: it takes some time (often a year or two), but they generally regain energy and endurance that they didn’t know they were missing. Not only is their body no longer fighting an infection, they get back a big chunk of their missing lung capacity. For a professional athlete I would expect that to be reflected in their performance eventually, particularly in power stats; it would be, literally, like a shot in the arm. TB: the anti-steroid.

    But even if you discount that, and Guillen had gone on to an undistinguished career putting up numbers no different from his time with M’s, there’s still no excuse for the transaction that sent him to Detroit. We have no evidence that “Santiago was the best we could get for him” — in fact we have no evidence that the M’s were even looking for the best deal, or that Santiago was anything other than a fig leaf to cover what was essentially, as Dave says, a give-away to get rid of someone they didn’t want for reasons that had nothing to do with his on-field performance.

  27. tomas on June 12th, 2008 10:02 am

    Bravo. A brutal read, but very well done.

  28. JerBear on June 12th, 2008 10:16 am

    What an excellent, though painful, read.

    Does Mariner management ever write you guys and ask you to ease off a little on your criticisms. Mind you, I think every one of your criticisms are valid but I can’t help think it really sticks in their craw.

    I honestly doubt they pay any attention. I mean, what do those darn bloggers know about building a winning team?

  29. gwangung on June 12th, 2008 10:21 am

    I honestly doubt they pay any attention. I mean, what do those darn bloggers know about building a winning team?

    Of course….it’s obvious the front office doesn’t know anything about building a winning team….

  30. dcmarinerfan on June 12th, 2008 10:38 am

    One edit: First sentence under December 15, 2004, 2003 should be 2004.

  31. nwtrev on June 12th, 2008 11:11 am

    By the way, the next best offer Washburn had on the table was 2 years at a total of $14 million.

    Holy crap. I didn’t know that. That’s just … wow … I can’t form words to describe it.

  32. nwtrev on June 12th, 2008 11:16 am

    A question to all you long time Mariner fans out there: when did they start with the policy of going after veteran gritty players with proven chemistry and leadership? Carl Everett? How did that happen?

  33. smb on June 12th, 2008 11:27 am

    Raul.

  34. Rusty on June 12th, 2008 11:30 am

    “Now batting, number thirteen, first baseman Carlos Guillen”. Tell me that’s not sabotage.

    Sadly, McLaren would put him in the #8 spot in this order.

  35. Steve T on June 12th, 2008 11:44 am
    “Now batting, number thirteen, first baseman Carlos Guillen”. Tell me that’s not sabotage.

    Sadly, McLaren would put him in the #8 spot in this order.

    Crap. I get your point, but I made a stupid error because I was talking about Guillen. I meant to write

    Now batting, number thirteen, first baseman Miguel Cairo.” Tell me that’s not sabotage.

  36. bakomariner on June 12th, 2008 11:50 am

    C’mon Steve…starting Cairo at 1B wouldn’t be sabotage…haven’t you been paying attention to Krueger? Cairo is the best 1B in the league!

  37. Steve T on June 12th, 2008 11:58 am

    That’s on the broadcast side. They’re SUPPOSED to be a parody.

  38. ivan on June 12th, 2008 12:00 pm

    I take issue with one thing you said, Dave. “It was impossible to see Guillen’s breakout coming at the time.”

    Roger Jongewaard had predicted Guilllen’s emergence as an offensive player from the time the trade was made that brought him here. He projected Guillen as an 18-20 HR and .300 BA player. This was widely reported, and everyone seems to have forgotten it. But Jongewaard was right.

    It was a crime to let him go at all, and worse yet that the M’s got nothing in return.

  39. gwangung on June 12th, 2008 12:25 pm

    Roger Jongewaard had predicted Guilllen’s emergence as an offensive player from the time the trade was made that brought him here. He projected Guillen as an 18-20 HR and .300 BA player. This was widely reported, and everyone seems to have forgotten it.

    That’s because he hadn’t “proven” himself in the big leagues….

    The bozos in charge won’t believe that a player can do it until he’s done it….preferably several times….

  40. notanangrygradstudent on June 12th, 2008 1:17 pm

    The bozos in charge won’t believe that a player can do it until he’s done it….preferably several times….

    At which point, of course, he can’t do it anymore.

  41. Jeff Nye on June 12th, 2008 1:23 pm

    Brief moderation note (this is not an invitation for discussion, in this thread or others):

    If comments are turned off on a post, it’s for a reason. It’s not up to ANY of you to decide that you’re going to comment anyway, in whatever thread you feel like, or complain about comments being turned off in other, unrelated threads.

    Consider this fair warning.

  42. gwangung on June 12th, 2008 1:23 pm

    At which point, of course, he can’t do it anymore.

    Got it in one.

  43. ralphie81 on June 12th, 2008 1:44 pm

    Man that’s depressing. It really is a curse that we performed well enough last year to delude management into thinking we were a Bedard away.

    You forgot the prequel though:

    July 31, 2002 – Mariners management denies Lou Pinella’s request to add a bat by the trade deadline.

  44. Ruminations on June 12th, 2008 1:51 pm

    Answer for #32.
    I’d say Bavasi brought it with him. That was essentially his thinking in bringing Mo Vaughn to the Angels. It wasn’t until that disaster was undone that they had success. Bavasi does seem to be consistent but he hasn’t mastered the part about learning from one’s mistakes.

  45. Ollie in Raleigh on June 12th, 2008 1:57 pm

    Great write up Dave. My favorite line, “Good call, Bill.” And they say sarcasm doesn’t work on the internet. As I read the post again I added a “Good call Bill” after ever disaster you mentioned and it was even more fun to read a second time. Nice work as always.

  46. planB on June 12th, 2008 2:16 pm

    By the way, the next best offer Washburn had on the table was 2 years at a total of $14 million.

    Arrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  47. msb on June 12th, 2008 3:56 pm

    A question to all you long time Mariner fans out there: when did they start with the policy of going after veteran gritty players with proven chemistry and leadership?

    that’s gotta be Lou.

  48. eponymous coward on June 12th, 2008 4:43 pm

    I’d say Bavasi brought it with him. That was essentially his thinking in bringing Mo Vaughn to the Angels.

    There are a fair number of parallels between the 1999 Angels and the 2008 Mariners, beyond who their GM is:

    - the 1998 Angels finished in second place, with a better record than indicated by their Pythag
    - the Angels went out and made a classic “bet the farm” move by signing Mo Vaughn to a contract
    - the Angels started out OK in April (11-12), and ended up a 92 loss team (though they were better in May than the M’s were, they lost a lot of steam)
    - the offense went from .272/.332/.415 in 1998 to .256/.319 /.395 in 1999, basically going from ~average to among league-worst
    - the pitching and defense went downhill as well, from 783 runs allowed to 826
    - the Angels had terrible performance from 1B that year (Darin Erstad OPSing .682- Richie Sexson is outhitting that, as terrible as he is at the plate)

    Now, granted, there are dissimilarities, too… but looking at Bavasi’s 1999 and 2008 teams, it’s surprising how little he’s learned in nine years.

  49. eponymous coward on June 12th, 2008 4:57 pm

    Oh, since DMZ used the French Revolution in an earlier post, I’ll pipe in and say that all available evidence seems to indicate that the Mariners under the McLaren/Bavasi/Armstrong/Lincoln regime are like the Bourbons of France who were restored after the defeat of Napoleon: they learn nothing and forget nothing.

  50. planB on June 12th, 2008 4:59 pm
    A question to all you long time Mariner fans out there: when did they start with the policy of going after veteran gritty players with proven chemistry and leadership?

    that’s gotta be Lou.

    I don’t think so; I’m not sure the field manager really has that much impact on the kind of players the organization likes. I think the attitude developed in the 90s with the popularity of Junior, Edgar Martinez, Dan Wilson, Jay Buhner, etc etc… think “You Gotta Love These Guys”… they’ve wanted to duplicate/perpetuate that attitude and marketing success. Basically guessing.

  51. fetish on June 12th, 2008 5:18 pm

    A few notes:

    2003 was not “disastrous” – they finished with a 93-69 record, just like in 2002 and still the second highest win total in M’s history. Also just like 2002, they held a lead in the division until being passed by a scorching-hot Oakland A’s club

    Choo and Cabrera have both turned out to be essentially busts.

    I liked the article at first… but the second half – too much haterade.

  52. Steve T on June 12th, 2008 5:27 pm

    No. Not enough haterade.

  53. gwangung on June 12th, 2008 6:06 pm

    Choo and Cabrera have both turned out to be essentially busts.

    Um, no.

  54. gwangung on June 12th, 2008 6:07 pm

    Or more fully, thinking that Cabrera is a bust at 23 is showing the same kind of thinking about young players as the Mariners front office is using toward young players.

  55. pygmalion on June 12th, 2008 6:37 pm

    2003 was not “disastrous” – they finished with a 93-69 record, just like in 2002 and still the second highest win total in M’s history.

    From context it is clear that this is a typo, and Dave meant to write “2004″ there.

  56. fetish on June 12th, 2008 11:40 pm

    Um, no

    a .184 average, 8 total xbh, a 2:1 K/BB ratio, just 1/2 in SB’s. A .529 OPS

    also,

    the other guy made 17 AB’s in all of 2007, 27 in all of 2008. That’s a week and a half of play over two years.

    Since we all agree that Mark Shapiro is a good GM (maybe you don’t, but whatever) then either he’s making a mistake but not playing Choo, or Choo can’t play.

  57. irish on June 13th, 2008 3:23 am

    While wondering if it’s worth the time…

    A. Cabrera’s 22. He had quite a good run last year (.283/.354/.421) for the Indians in the same number of ABs as he’s struggled in this year. Still, if you think a 22-year-old player with two years of sustained success can be a bust, the significance of that probably just flew right over your head.

    B. How can you possibly think counting ’07 and ’08 as two full years at this point makes any sense? Choo missed half of last year (mostly spent in the minors) after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but hit .295/.373/.473 in Cleveland in ’06. He recently returned to the Indians and is hitting .323/.421/.645 in 31 ABs so far. The guy the M’s got in return for him has been released from two teams this year, and is currently filler in the Cubs’ system.

  58. rcc on June 13th, 2008 9:00 am

    Dave’s post was excellent. The only comment that could top it was Eponymous Coward with a great reference to the “Bourbons”….and to those unfamiliar with any European history….this was not a reference to Jim Beam or Canadian Club.

  59. gwangung on June 13th, 2008 10:55 am

    a .184 average, 8 total xbh, a 2:1 K/BB ratio, just 1/2 in SB’s. A .529 OPS

    You’re still thinking like a Mariner front office person.

  60. SoulofaCitizen on June 13th, 2008 11:33 am

    You could also add in giving away Jamie Moyer for nothing, when if they’d kept him we might have avoided Soriano for Ho Ram and if they’d traded him before the deadline we could actually have gotten some value (And yes, he’d have okd the deal, but to a contender, he probably would have.

  61. galaxieboi on June 13th, 2008 10:57 pm

    this was not a reference to Jim Beam or Canadian Club.

    Oh shoot.

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